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It may seem a bit strange but having been a knitter and crocheter for over 40 years, I have to admitted I do not understand “Yarn Bombing”. I see pictures of trees, buses, and many other things wrapped in knitting or crocheting and I wonder who has that much free time and yarn on their hands? It isn’t that I think it is silly, well actually yes it is, I do think it a silly use of time and yarn. Yes, I know everyone has the right to make or do what they will with their craft but really all that work for a tree, or a bus or a park bench, really?

Time? Yarn? Really?

Maybe it is that I see so many people in need, children, infants, homeless, and powerless and there is such gratification in making things for those who are in need. That I just don’t get time spent on this. It is called “Yarn Graffiti”. When I think of graffiti I just don’t want my work associated with it. Well as I said each to their own and “art” maybe has no reason. Where as knitting or crocheting for charity is a reason unto its self.

The art of knitting or crocheting to me is a unique art form, in that it not only is beautiful but practical as well. The art of charity is also beautiful in that while the recipient is blessed the maker and giver is blessed even more. While the “yarn bombing” is unique (to be sure). I cannot help but think of how many could have benefited if the person or persons creating these covering would have turned that effort in to blankets for programs such as; The Linus Project, which provides blankets for children who have been traumatized, or Chemo Caps for cancer patients, Prayer Shawls, or Hats for the Homeless. All of these projects create beautiful items, wrap unique people in warmth and love, and bless the giver in so many ways.

The Linus Project

Chemo Caps

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Hats for Homeless

Art, at its best brings beauty to the world, blesses the world, and blesses the artist. What I just haven’t understood is how the time and yarn used to create all of the coverings for trees, buses, and so many other things really blesses anyone. I do believe it causes people to stop, stare, and wonder “Why”

Why?

So much time, so much yarn, such silliness, when there is such need for beauty to be spread among humans. Each of us as artist must choose what we create  and how it impacts the lives of others.

“And now there remains faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” 1st Corinthians 13:13 KJV

Sparkles

Sometimes we all need something that shines, something that reflects light. In general life rarely sparkles. So we do things to try to make it a bit more reflective, sparkly. Just a bit of flash that makes us feel a bit more, well, glamorous. In trying, sometimes we succeed and for just a moment the dull is lifted and shine and sparkles spring forth.

A sparkly shrug made from Feza Night yarn.

Yarn can come with the sparkles included and bring pop and life to the project you are knitting. The trick is in the pattern you are making  does sparkle add to it or take away. Not every project is right for glitter, and or shine but those projects where that little bit of flash sets off the outfit lift us to a place that makes us smile and shine.

Life on the other hand is not meant to be dull and without luster. We think we will pull out the shine for just the right time and place and then we find that the sparkle is not there, it has tarnished. While not every moment will be filled with glitter and star-dust, we need to live life so that we bring light and not dullness to ourselves and our surroundings.

Red sparkly, shrug on Kendra.

When we do live with that sparkle in our eyes, in our smile, in our heart, then everyone we encounter even if for just a moment go away with a bit more sparkle in their life as well.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16.

The Time Between

In knitting there are times when you finish a large, lengthy project and then there is the time between. That is the time after the big push to finish something and the start of the next big project. This time can sometimes feel like a let down or a twilight zone type place. A place of not knowing exactly what you want to do next and being glad the other project is finished. It is not a place void of knitting, there are always small project in the works. Just a place where the main focus is not yet in focus.

In life there are places of Between. When one phase of life has ended and the next not quite in focus yet.  A child arriving but not yet here, children leaving but not yet self-supporting, thinking of retiring but not yet able to  retire. Changes that can feel like a let down, but you are glad that one phase is finished, yet you are not quite sure what the next phase will bring. Yet there is always something in progress, life continues.

In knitting, you eventually begin a new project that requires a lot of time and effort the same is true of life, the new child arrives, the last child leaves and has found their place in life, and retirement does come. The time between ends and the new project is in full swing. Life cycles and knitting walk hand in hand.  Sometimes we have it all lined up, what will come next, both in life and knitting. Other times it seems to take a while to figure it out. Trial and error. No, I don’t want to make that, yes I want to change jobs or not work or…. what ever. Just knowing that you are in a time between sometimes lets you just float along with the small projects waiting… waiting for the next thing to come into focus.

I love the Tree of Life knitting motifs. I have incorporate them in to several afghans done for wedding gifts. To me the patterns remind me that we are connected to each generation before us and to those who will follow. This one was knit for my daughter and son-in-law. It has the small trees intertwined, they seem to represent the families before and the two large center trees seem to me to represent the new family joined in marriage. Then the two small sets of intertwined trees the future generations to come. I also love the connection to biblical Trees of Life.  In Revelations 22:And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Rev 22:1-3 KJV) this passage about the Tree of Life is one I see in the twined trees of this pattern. And in Genesis:  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:9 KJV) So from the opening pages to the closing pages of the Bible the theme of the Tree of Life runs through God’s word.

The second afghan was finished for another daughter and her husband. (In time for their 1st anniversary.) Again it is another variation on the Tree of Life pattern. This time with the 4 trees growing out from the center. This is more of a Norse theme and the pattern is Yggdrasil. There again is the theme of life and the whole universe being connected.

It seems that every culture and faith has a version of this type of Tree that represents life. For some they seem to think it is a stumbling block if it is not all connected to scripture. For me it is that God has placed in our hearts the wonder of life and the innate knowledge that we are all connected. He reaches out to us through this desire to be connected to draw us to Himself the creator.

Patterns are fascinating they do reveal so much about ourselves in developing them. Knitting brings patterns to life through the yarn and time spent in making them up. We are connected  to those that receive the items and to those who developed the original pattern. Our personal embellishments then add to the growing life of patterns and the art of knitting.

Knitting Frenzy

Each year for more years than I can remember I have been going to a celebration of Texas Independence at Washington on the Brazos. I am allowed to sell items at this show. Usually through out the year I make items to take and sell. This past year was not usual and so come the end of January I did not have anything made to take. Did I mention the show is the weekend closest to March 2nd? So began the month of Knitting Frenzy.

These are the result of fairly nonstop knitting.It is a testimony of what can be done if one is crazy enough to try and do it. I really can’t say it was a lot of fun all I can say is that you can accomplish much more than you think you can if you work hard enough at it.

The show was very good and yes I did sell most of the items which does make it worth while in the long run as it pays our expenses of going to the show. The lesson to take away from it is somehow even in a crazy year try to do some of the knitting for the show before the end of January. Though it was amazing to see all of the items made laying out on the table.

Though it has been awhile since I last wrote anything, that does not mean there has been no knitting going on. Quite the contrary in fact. Of course there were the Holidays and a mass of Christmas Knitting was done. Mostly scarves the new curly ones. Then a lot of Christmas ornaments knitted. But that was last year.

So in January, I finished a shawl for my sister for her birthday. I will include a picture at a later time. I started my green socks that my daughter had given to me some time back. I was helping my sister learn to knit socks and so I started and finished them

Then there are the Loopy Lambs for the Washington on the Brazos show.

Scarves, small critters and there will be at least 2 hairy hedgehogs and I will include a photo once they are felted, and many other items.  I hope to post pictures of from the show.

There are many project scheduled for this year. The main one being the afghan our daughter and son-in-law for their 1st anniversary. As the year progresses new knitting will be added and most likely subtracted. That is the beauty of knitting, projects finished and begun. Life happens and knitting continues.

On Friday, October 7, Conway and I headed out to begin the 2011 Hill Country Yarn Shop Crawl. Our first stop was in Paige, TX at a wonderful Yarn Shop called Yarnorama. The shop is a fiber enthusiasts heaven, they carry all types of knitting, crocheting and spinning yarns, threads and fiber (from wool to Angora, with the bunny to prove it). I bought my pass for the Crawl at this shop, it was $20 in that you received a canvas tote and the passport for a total of 9 shops. At each shop they give away a free gift and an opportunity to win door prizes from each shop. The free gift from Yarnorama was a skein of hand dyed fingering wool, and a pattern for the yarn.

Each shop on the tour has a gift for each participant. These gifts range from small items to more like the skein and pattern. I like to try to find something to purchase at the shops as this is their way of trying to increase their customer traffic and income. They go to a lot of expense to put on the Crawl.  At Yarnorama I found a pair of circular needles I wanted and purchased them.

On Saturday morning, we headed out to San Antonio, TX for a full day of “Crawling”. Our first stop of the day was at The Yarn Barn, a favorite shop of mine over the past 30 years. At this shop they also gave away a skein of yarn and pattern for a knitted purse,  (though I may not make the purse the yarn is nice and will make a gift for someone). There I purchased a skein of the new self ruffling yarn in a bright pink, black and metallic. Will make a very fun scarf. The next shop was Yarnivore, another of my favorite places in San Antonio. The gift from this shop was a skein of undyed wool with the makings to do a Koolaid dyed yarn, (such fun). Unfortunately they were out of the item I wanted to buy so I did not buy anything from them.

After that we took a short break from the Crawl and went to Boerne, TX. We had found that there was a yarn shop there that was not on the Crawl. What fun it was! Ewe and Eye, is a yarn shop, toy shop, gift shop in the style of a wonderful German shop. (Or at least what I imagine as a quaint German Shop). The gentleman who runs this shop was so much fun to visit with, he showed us so many lovely (expensive) items. Then next door (more or less the same building) his wife runs a wonderful German Restaurant called Little Gretel’s. Oh we had a wonderful lunch there of schnitzel. Haven’t had schnitzel that good in a very long time.

Now back on track to the Crawl. On to Comfort, TX to the Tinsmith’s Wife. What a fun, shop it is. The gift from this shop was a lovely skein of silk, bamboo yarn in a vibrant wine color. The pattern is not one I will make but oh I will use the yarn. There I found a pair of bamboo cable needles I wanted and a pair of square knitting needles, these are supposed to be good for arthritis and other hand problems. Hey, it is worth trying, so I purchased those as well. From Comfort, we headed up to Marble Falls to Horseshoe Bay and Nan’s Needleworks. This is a very nice shop, with great folks that work there. The gift was a skein of very nice wool, alpaca blend yarn and a headband pattern. Once again I most likely will not use their pattern but I will use the yarn. I purchased two balls of self ruffling yarn of lovely colors for more Christmas gifts. We left this shop and checked into the Motel for the evening of going through all the goodies and a lovely dinner at a small family run Italian Restaurant.

Sunday, morning we headed to Austin, TX for the final leg of our Crawl weekend. The first stop was at Gauge, a small shop in northwest Austin, the gift was a small blank book with pencils. A small gift but this is a very small shop. Unfortunately there I also did not find anything I wanted to purchase. We went to Hill Country Weavers after that and it is the complete opposite of Guage, big with lots and lots of yarn, books, patterns and other items. The gift was a choice of 2 items from 3 selections. I chose a pair of needles and a hand balm  (it is lovely and leaves no greasy residue). I almost spent a lot of money there, and if they would have had the yarn I wanted I would have. As it is I did not buy anything from them either. On to the last shop in Austin further out Congress Ave., The Knitting Nest, not a shop I usually buy things from because the selection is usually limited. The gift, was a ball of cotton yarn and pattern for a needle book, (most likely will not make this pattern either). I did find a lovely hand dyed fingering weight yarn and lace shawl pattern that I did purchase.

We then, thought about lunch, but as neither of us was hungry, we headed out of Austin to the middle of nowhere, TX to the last shop on the Crawl, Old Oaks Ranch. This is a great place where they raise their Alpacas, have classes, and a fun shop. The gift was a hand turned wood shawl pin with a stone bead, this is a lovely gift. They had the pattern and yarn that Hill Country Weavers did not have so… I did purchase that from them. I then filled out my passport and turned it in at this shop. The Crawl, was for the most part over for us. At each shop I filled out an entry to win door prizes that each shop on the Crawl was giving away. So we headed home.

At home it was, make a large pot of Taco Soup, and jalapeno cornbread, settle down and go through all the wonderful items given away and purchased. All in all a very nice ending to a very fun weekend. So imagine my pleasure when on Tuesday at work I receive the call that I had won, one of the door prizes from The Yarn Barn in San Antonio. We will go on this Sat. Oct. 15, to pick up a lovely skein of Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace yarn and lace shawl pattern. Ahh, now that is a blessing indeed.